CBN-110 geocaches, 14 miles
Most of the country are either sat at home in front of the television or at Olympic events. Smif247 and I on the other hand decided we wanted to avoid the Olympics for just a little longer and attempt to better our daily records, both distance walked and the number of finds.
On Saturday 28th July 2012 we decided we would join a few good local friends, Winter-Smith, Nick the Trucker and Martinwalks, to do a 14 mile series of caches in Essex known as Chelmer and Blackwater Navigation (CBN). This is a series of 110 geocaches, all but one are traditionals. The walk starts at the Heybridge Basin where the canal meets the estuary to the North Sea and finishes in Chelmsford at CBN 110.
My personal record was just 10 miles with 51 geocache finds from last July when I went and completed the Meopham March. There are rumours that the Meopham March is due to be archived sometime in September. So if you want to grab yourself 52 finds in a day, then go out and get it this summer.
We knew that the day was going to be tough on us for a variety of reasons. Neither of us have ever walked that far and certainly not at approximately 2 miles an hour (including stopping time to find geocaches). I still suffer a lot with fatigue and pain so the route was definitely going to be a challenge for me and frankly I didn’t think I was going to make it to the end.
What made the walk much easier was the great English weather. We have had highs of 30+ C all week long and I was concerned that Saturday was going to be too hot, but the weather was on our side and we enjoyed more comfortable temperatures of 20 C with a nice light breeze at times as we progressed along the picturesque canal.
Another bonus was some of the beautiful scenery that we experienced throughout the day. We saw beautiful clear water, summery flora and fauna, exquisitely decorated canal boats and river homes, animals trying to keep themselves cool and lots of people enjoying the area with picnics, barbecues and cycling or walking.
There were even times of playfulness. Smif247 decided to turn one of the bridges into a set of monkey bars, while the rest of us were searching for a letterbox cache that we hadn’t realised was actually archived and no longer at its ground zero.
And at other times, Smif247 thought it would be a laugh to move some of the lock gates! Thankfully he didn’t have a lock key or he would have drained a lock too.
Early on we decided on the tactic of leap frogging, as one person is signing a log, the rest of the group move on towards the next cache, this gave us a good chance of finding all the caches before dark. A good idea considering we didn’t leave CBN 001 until Noon.
We noticed that we weren’t the only ones out attempting this power trail and we finally caught up with Flexburyites somewhere between CBN 40 to 50. After a lovely chat with him we sped on towards CBN 065 so that we could stop for “lunch”.
We arrived at the Papermill Lock Tea Rooms just after 4pm where we took a well earned rest with teas, coffees, sandwiches, ploughmans and home made cake. Just as we were beginning to sort ourselves out to carry on, Flexburyites had caught up with us again, after a quick wave and chat off he ventred. We hung around a little longer enjoying the afternoon sun and the canal atmosphere, and of course a photo opportunity.
Leaving the tea rooms just after 5pm, feeling very pleased with ourselves for having got that far and knowing the only way was onwards towards the car at CBN 110, we set off at a reasonable pace. Not as fast as the earlier part of the day but still making good progress, roughly 8 minutes between each find.
I began feeling the strain and pain around the 80 mark but I kept pushing myself, determined to finish. The guys were great and gave me plenty of chances to grab short rests so that I didn’t hold anyone up.
One of the breaks was when we grabbed a cache that wasn’t part of the CBN series but still along our route. Boys being boys went to sign the log and play around in the pill box very close to it while I stayed on the tow path and waited patiently, regaining energy, ready for the momentum to keep on.
We didn’t just grab 110 finds from the CBN series, we finished the day with 116 finds thanks to the other caches along the route with virtually no detours. We arrived at CBN 110 at 2030, and what a relief this was for me! I don’t think I have ever felt so excited to find another micro, but believe me, it meant that I had done it. I had surpassed my personal bests. Beaten my body and beaten my fatigue; even if it were just for one day.
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